Ludhiana-based BJP leader Dr Kamaljit Singh Soi (46), who recently facilitated a meeting between Centre and Sikh religious leader Lakha Singh, said that he arranged the meeting to get the issue resolved at the earlier in interest of farmers.
Soi, who is a road safety expert also has farm land in Gurdaspur. He is also national spokesperson of BJP’s kisan cell since the past 3 years.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Soi said,”Yes, I facilitated the meeting of Baba Lakha Singh with Union Agriculture Minister as he (Lakha Singh) too wants the issue to be resolved soon and everyone is trying his/her bit as we are genuinely concerned with farmers who are protesting on roads.”
He added, “This situation needs to be defused sooner. Government is giving 42 farm unions few options for their welfare only as overall we want welfare of the farmers…Farm laws are for the good of farmers and aim to double their income. But yes, I must admit that we failed to make Punjab farmers understand these laws in a right perspective and they rather started protesting over these laws. I must say that 90 per cent of the agitation is being led by Punjab farmers. Remaining farmers (of other states) are rather happy with these laws.”
Soi claimed to be the only BJP leader who had slept overnight at Singhu border and even he took some warm clothes for farmers camping at the border.
He said, “I went to Singhu Thursday morning, interacted with farmers, had langar with farmers, later I went with Baba Lakha Singh to meet the Agriculture Minister. I came back to Singhu again and stayed overnight before leaving for Ludhiana on Friday morning. I went there to be with them as a farmer as I genuinely feel for their welfare.”
Asked if he was supporting the protesting farmers in their cause, he said, “I am with them, but I want to make them understand that these laws are for their good. Still, the government is ready to do so many modifications/amendments in them as per the demand of farmers. If we look at the condition of farmers in the present condition, it is miserable. They are under heavy debt of Rs 1.25 lakh crores while Amarinder government had announced to waive off the entire Rs 90,000 crores debt as per their poll promise. However, they waived only Rs 4,000 crores and interest kept on piling on the rest and the present debt amount has increased to Rs 1.25 lakh crores.”
The BJP leader added: “Farmers have high input costs as against 1.25 lakh tractors requirement as per the area under farming, we have more than 6.5 lakh tractors. These are the figures of PAU, Ludhiana. A tractor should run for minimum 1,000 hours in a month for viability of the vehicle but it does not run more than 250 hours. Reason as they are more in numbers. Farmers don’t prefer to share them but they buy them after taking loans. Most of the farmers have mortgaged their land against loans and we keep on witnessing news of farmers’ suicides. This is despite the fact that Punjab farmers earn the most which is Rs 23,000 per acre per annum. If despite this high income, he is in distress, certainly the farmer needs some urgent reforms. We are sad that a gap remained due to which we failed to tell farmers the benefits as politics ruled over the reforms.”
Attacking the Congress, he said: “The Congress government itself has these laws in its manifesto and have already implemented them in 2017 after forming government. SAD too had agreed to these ordinances earlier, but took a U-turn all of a sudden when they felt that Punjab CM was claiming to be ‘kisana da rakha’. AAP, has no base in Punjab already and hence they too walked towards vote bank politics.”
He appealed to farmer unions to work towards ending the stalemate, “I feel that unions must think for the overall welfare of farmers rather than making it a matter of pride. I hope and I wish the issue to be resolved soon and I want Punjab farmers to be back home soon.”